Original article written by Valerie Strauss for the Washington Post
Pedro Noguera, dean of the Rossier School of Education at USC and Robert Boyd, president of the School-Based Health Alliance write an open letter calling for a trillion dollar investment in the education and health care of children from low-income families. Noguera and Boyd argue that this investment is not impossible, and would ensure that all students have access to high-quality academic learning. They propose the investment go towards ending the digital divide that leaves many students without adequate technology, expanding School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) to more schools across the US, hiring more teachers (especially teachers of color to serve as role-models), reinstalling music, art, physical education and recess to the curriculum, connecting with the community, and repairing aging schools. To the SBHC point, Noguera and Boyd demonstrate how SBHCs have proven to reduce parent time away from work and to improve students’ academic performance, pointing to their particular importance during the covid-19 pandemic, "Now, more than ever, vaccinations, medicine management, wellness checkups and emotional support should be available to all students. And the pandemic’s disparate impact points to the need to train more people of color as school health professionals." With the presidential election around the corner, Noguera and Boyd are calling for a commitment from all candidates for federal office to pass legislation appropriating a trillion dollars for the education and health care of low-income children, $200 billion annually over a five-year period, "Over the coming weeks, we will hear politicians discuss all kinds of issues. But on Nov. 3, we will vote based on what we hear — or don’t hear — about their willingness to honor this pledge. We encourage you to do the same."